"It was the largest snake ever, and if its astounding size alone wasn’t enough to dazzle the most sunburned fossil hunter, the fact of its existence may have implications for understanding the history of life on earth and possibly even for anticipating the future."
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/How-Titanoboa-the-40-Foot-Long-Snake-Was-Found.html#ixzz2iny0MxrN Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
"The size of the snake immediately raised questions about how it got to be that big, and what it needed to survive. The Cerrejón team concluded in 2009 that Titanoboa had to have lived in a climate with a mean ambient temperature between 86 and 93 degrees Fahrenheit, substantially higher than the hottest average for today’s tropical forests, which is 82 degrees."
"Titanoboa was a coldblooded animal whose body temperature depended on that of its habitat. Reptiles can grow bigger in warmer climates, where they can absorb enough energy to maintain a necessary metabolic rate. That’s why insects, reptiles and amphibians tend to be larger in the tropics than in the temperate zone. In this view, extraordinary heat is what made the snake a titan. The same principle would explain why ancient turtles and lungfish of Cerrejón were, like Titanoboa, much larger than their modern relatives. The relationship between coldblooded body mass and ambient temperature was the subject of a 2005 study by researchers at the Nuclear Physics Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia. By examining species sizes at a variety of different ambient temperatures, Anastassia Makarieva and colleagues calculated how fossils could be used to estimate temperatures in the distant past." Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/How-Titanoboa-the-40-Foot-Long-Snake-Was-Found.html#ixzz2B52GpyOm Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/How-Titanoboa-the-40-Foot-Long-Snake-Was-Found.html#ixzz2B4zC2L4G
Amber Air From Dinosaurs' Age Suggests Dramatic Change By JAMES GLEICK, Special to the New York Times Published: October 29, 1987 • Sign In to E-Mail • Print • Single-Page Tiny bubbles trapped in amber for 80 million years have given scientists their first direct look at the earth's atmosphere in the time of the dinosaurs, a mix of gases that appears dramatically different from the air we breathe today. A preliminary analysis suggests that the ancient atmosphere may have been 50 percent richer in the oxygen that sustains the animal life of the planet. That finding, to be presented here Thursday at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, is sure to astonish experts on global climate and the evolution of life. They had assumed that the air then differed little from today's. Until now, the oldest known samples of air were far younger, the product of a 160,000-year-old core of polar ice that was painstakingly drawn over the last five years from its resting place a mile below the Antarctic surface. But by crushing bits of amber and analyzing the faint breath of gas that escapes, researchers appear to have opened an unexpected new window onto the history of the atmosphere and the creatures it nourished. Seeking Detailed Picture As the technique is refined, the researchers, Robert A. Berner of Yale University and Gary P. Landis of the United States Geological Survey in Denver, hope through the study of other amber samples to assemble a detailed picture going back even farther. Microscopic air bubbles are not unusual in amber, the resin from pine trees that has hardened into yellowish translucent lumps. Some amber has been preserved for 200 million to 300 million years. ''It's very exciting,'' said James C. G. Walker of the University of Michigan, an authority on the development of the earth's atmosphere and oceans. ''I think it's a tremendously promising technique.'' The researchers emphasize that their analysis is still tentative, particularly the surprising discovery of excess oxygen. But they believe that they have ruled out every possible alternative and that the amber bubbles reflect the composition of ancient air, folded into resin that oozed from the coniferous trees of the Cretaceous era. Oxygen now makes up 21 percent of the atmosphere; the rest is mainly nitrogen, with a fraction of a percent of carbon dioxide and traces of many other gases. The Cretaceous amber, found in northern Manitoba, suggests an oxygen content as high as 32 percent. The rest is mainly nitrogen, as in the atmosphere today. Changing Thought on Extinctions If confirmed, the discovery of an oxygen-rich atmosphere in the planet's past would intrude on the debate over a wide range of problems, from the history of climate change to the rise and extinction of species. ''No one's ever thought about the possibility that oxygen could change so dramatically,'' Dr. Berner said. ''Some people won't be happy about that high a number.'' Extra oxygen would have been a great boon to animals trying to develop more efficient versions of the energy-generating chemistry of life. A given species might have been able to get by with smaller lungs, for example, and similar economies might have benefited organisms in many other ways. A decline in oxygen content, on the other hand, would surely have affected species accustomed to a richer atmosphere. Some scientists speculated today that paleontologists studying the history of evolution may be tempted to look to the new research as a possible influence on the mass extinctions, including that of the dinosaur, that closed the Cretaceous era. The primordial earth, before the origin of life, had an atmosphere with no oxygen at all. It took billions of years for early organisms to free the oxygen that was bound to iron oxide and other minerals in the planet's surface.
meganeura Meganeura is a genus of extinct insects from the Carboniferous period approximately 300 million years ago, which resembled and are related to the present-day dragonflies. With wingspans of up to 65 cm (2.1 ft), M. monyi is one of the largest known flying insect species; the Permian Meganeuropsis permiana is another. Meganeura were predatory, and fed on other insects, and even small amphibians.
Fossils were discovered in the French Stephanian Coal Measures of Commentry in 1880. In 1885, French paleontologist Charles Brongniart described and named the fossil "Meganeura" (large-nerved), which refers to the network of veins on the insect's wings. Another fine fossil specimen was found in 1979 at Bolsover in Derbyshire. The holotype is housed in the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris SizeControversy has prevailed as to how insects of the Carboniferous period were able to grow so large. The way oxygen is diffused through the insect's body via its tracheal breathing system puts an upper limit on body size, which prehistoric insects seem to have well exceeded. It was originally proposed (Harlé & Harlé, 1911) that Meganeura was only able to fly because the atmosphere at that time contained more oxygen than the present 20%. This theory was dismissed by fellow scientists, but has found approval more recently through further study into the relationship between gigantism and oxygen availability. If this theory is correct, these insects would have been susceptible to falling oxygen levels and certainly could not survive in our modern atmosphere. Other research indicates that insects really do breathe, with "rapid cycles of tracheal compression and expansion". Recent analysis of the flight energetics of modern insects and birds suggests that both the oxygen levels and air density provide a bound on size.
A general problem with all oxygen-related explanations of the giant dragonflies is the circumstance that very large Meganeuridae with a wing span of 45 cm (1.5 ft) also occurred in the Upper Permian of Lodève in France, when the oxygen content of the atmosphere was already much lower than in the Carboniferous and Lower Permian.
Bechly (2004) suggested that the lack of aerial vertebrate predators allowed pterygote insects to evolve to maximum sizes during the Carboniferous and Permian periods, maybe accelerated by an evolutionary "arms race" for increase in body size between plant-feeding Palaeodictyoptera and Meganisoptera as their predators.
A crystalline canopy
It is on other planets: It is it impossible for there to be a canopy of earth hanging over the planet?
No, other planets have similar structures. for instance uranus
Best Answer.The cloud tops are very cold, as low as -200 degrees Celsius. There is no true surface, only a gradual increase in pressure to a dense fluid of water and ammonia.
Uranus has very strong winds as well as clouds of ammonia and water. Storms seem to be rare. That is about all that is really known.
Metallic hydrogen hydrogen(the main component of water can be frozen and have metallic quallities. "This is the hydrogen scientists know best--the forms they have measured, modeled, and analyzed for decades. But there are other manifestations of hydrogen that, until recently, have eluded investigation. Place this simple element in extremes of temperature and pressure, and it will display a range of personalities that are surprising and profound. One of these other personalities, which is being investigated by NCSA physicist and Alliance Executive Committee member David Ceperley, is metallic hydrogen. Squeeze hydrogen at pressures 2 to 10 million times greater than normally found on Earth and this colorless, odorless, tasteless gas transforms into a metal. Conditions like this exist inside Jovian planets like Jupiter, where cold clouds of hydrogen gas turn to liquid metallic hydrogen under the pressure exerted by this gaseous giant. Extremes of temperature and pressure can exist on Earth--when hydrogen is ignited within some rocket engines, or during thermonuculear fusion. Researchers have known about the metallic state of hydrogen for more than 60 years--ever since quantum mechanics predicted the rules governing electrons. But they lacked the ability to make quantitative predictions of this state--the kind of knowledge that sheds light on the distribution of mass in Jovian-like objects and may lead to more efficient ways to achieve thermonuclear fusion. It is knowledge that determines hydrogen's equation of state, which Ceperley believes he is now "tantalizingly close" to providing." The National Center for Super Computing Applications (NCSA)
Uniformitarianism a.Made for an eternal planet scenario "Uniformitarianism is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe. It has included the gradualistic concept that "the present is the key to the past" and is functioning at the same rates. Uniformitarianism has been a key principle of geology and virtually all fields of science, but naturalism's modern geologists, while accepting that geology has occurred across deep time, no longer hold to a strict gradualism. Uniformitarianism was formulated by Scottish naturalists in the late 18th century, starting with the work of the geologist James Hutton, which was refined by John Playfair and popularised by Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology in 1830. The term uniformitarianism was coined by William Whewell, who also coined the term catastrophism for the idea that Earth was shaped by a series of sudden, short-lived, violent events." Wikipedia "uniformitarianism" "The contributions he made to correct understandings of ignaceous rocks is large. but his outstanding acheivement was formulation of the uniformitarian principle, which states that natural agents now at work on and within the earth have repeated with general uniformity through immensely long periods of time." "Hutton reasoning inductively from a wealth of evidence, concluded that the earth dates from the remote past ; he could see no vestige of a beginning- no prospect of an end." ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA Geology: B. 18th century b. built on circular reasoning "It is a problem not easily solved by the classic methods of stratigraphical paleontology, as obviously we will land ourselves immediately in an impossible circular argument if we say, firstly that a particular lithology [theory of rock strata] is synchronous on the evidence of its fossils, and secondly that the fossils are synchronous on the evidence of the lithology."—*Derek V. Ager, The Nature of the Stratigraphic Record (1973), p. 62.
"But the danger of circularity is still present. For most biologists, the strongest reason for accepting the evolutionary hypothesis is their acceptance of some theory that entails it. There is another difficulty. The temporal ordering of biological events beyond the local section may critically involve paleontological correlation, which necessarily presupposes the non-repeatability of organic events in geologic history. There are various justifications for this assumption but for almost all contemporary paleontologists it rests upon the acceptance of the evolutionary hypothesis."—*David G. Kitts, "Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory," in Evolution, September 1974, p. 466.
"Whatever the method or approach, the geologist must take cognizance of the following facts... There is no place on earth where a complete record of the rocks is present.... To reconstruct the history of the earth, scattered bits of information from thousands of locations all over the world must be placed together. The results will be at best only a very incomplete record. If the complete history of the earth is compared to an encyclopedia of 30 volumes, then we can seldom hope to find even one comeplete volume in a given area. Sometimes only a few chapters, perhaps only a paragraph or two, will be the total geological contribution of a region; indeed, we are often reduced to studying scattering bits of information more nearly comparable to a few words of letters." Brown Monnet and Stovel Introduction to Geology
Inductive fallacy "Inductive reasoning consists of inferring from the properties of a sample to the properties of a population as a whole. For example, suppose we have a barrel containing of 1,000 beans. Some of the beans are black and some of the beans are white. Suppose now we take a sample of 100 beans from the barrel and that 50 of them are white and 50 of them are black. Then we could infer inductively that half the beans in the barrel (that is, 500 of them) are black and half are white. All inductive reasoning depends on the similarity of the sample and the population. The more similar the same is to the population as a whole, the more reliable will be the inductive inference. On the other hand, if the sample is relevantly dissimilar to the population, then the inductive inference will be unreliable. No inductive inference is perfect. That means that any inductive inference can sometimes fail. Even though the premises are true, the conclusion might be false. Nonetheless, a good inductive inference gives us a reason to believe that the conclusion is probably true." Stephen's Guide to logical fallacies (Stephen Downes University of Alberta) www.onegoodmove.org
The value of history
"The notion of the sky as a solid object (rather than just an atmospheric expanse) was widespread among both ancient civilisations and primitive cultures, including ancient Greece, Egypt, China, India, native Americans, Australian aborigines, and also early Christians. The sky is depicted as a solid dome arched over the earth in both Mesopotamian and Indo-European mythologies (e.g., creation myths) and poetry. The Sumerian sky-god An ruled these firmament-like "heavens", which the wind-god had separated from the flat disc of the earth below, and there were primordial seas above the firmament. Ancient Indians also believed in a solid sky: "Firm is the sky and firm is the earth," says the Rig Veda. This approach to cosmology is probably universal, and is also encountered in mythologies of the New World." Wikipedia firmament
"After this, on the second day, He placed the heaven over the whole world, and separated it from the other parts; and determined that it should stand by itself. He also placed a crystalline firmament around it." (Josephus book 1, chapter 1. Written by Paul L. Maier) "For the Spirit being one, and holding the place of light,(2) was between the water and the heaven, in order that the darkness might not in any way communicate with the heaven, which was nearer God, before God said, 'Let there be light.' The heaven, therefore, being like a dome-shaped covering, comprehended matter which was like a clod." Theophilus to Autolycus(or antioch) Book 2, Chapter 13 (theophilus was a 2nd century christian)
Job 37:18 Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?